ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE ETHICS CENTRE
June 24, 1998
Dear Dr. Cranston:
I would like to raise questions in regard to a circumcision pain study that was carried out at the University of Alberta. I was wondering if you could tell me what role St. Joseph's College Ethics Centre played, if any, in reviewing or approving this study.
It was reported in the College newsletter (Vol. 1, No. 4, December 1997) that you made the following comments at the Annual Convention of the Catholic Health Association of Alberta in October of 1997:
But, we have to recognize that we, as human persons, do not specifically need the word of God, we do not need our Christian faith, to know that we have a radical obligation to respect and to protect physical human life.I was wondering whether or not you felt that the obligation to respect and to protect physical human life could be reconciled with this medical study. The surgery was undertaken in response to no medical condition of any kind, and the investigators reported that many of the infants involved in the study were severely traumatized, in some cases to the point of danger. Moreover, all the infants were permanently deprived of a normal part of the reproductive system performing protective, mechanical, and erotogenic functions.
I enclose a copy of a letter I have written to Dr. Janice Lander, who headed the study. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.